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Cullen: Notes on Kane, Hossa, Brassard, Crosby, more

Scott Cullen
5/3/2014 1:25:28 AM
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The Rangers earn an overtime win and Patrick Kane comes alive in the third period to give Chicago a victory in Game One. Scott Cullen has notes on Brassard, Pouliot, Crosby, Kane, Bickell, Hossa and more.

RANGERS TAKE OT WIN

Derick Brassard scored at 3:06 of overtime to give the New York Rangers a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game One.

The Rangers' third line made the most of their opportunities for the night, as Benoit Pouliot scored the Rangers' first goal as well as assisting on the game-winner. Brassard and Pouliot also had the Rangers' best possession stats for the game, on the ice for 60% of the shot attempts at 5-on-5.

The most notable story for the Penguins is that Sidney Crosby was held off the scoresheet, but also was on for all three Rangers goals. It's been a rough start to the postseason for Crosby. Even though he has six assists in seven games and his puck possession numbers are strong, Crosby is minus-5 and still seeking his first goal of the postseason. He's still getting chances -- his 3.14 shots on goal per game is barely below his regular-season average of 3.24 per game -- but until he gets that first goal, he's going to be under more scrutiny than usual.

Penguins wingers Jussi Jokinen and James Neal were on the ice for more than 70% of 5-on-5 shot attempts and Neal scored Pittsburgh's second goal, but the ice was tilted favourably in their direction -- they started more than 75% of their shifts in the offensive zone.

Rangers D Dan Girardi chipped in a couple of assists. Only once in 81 games during the regular season did Girardi record two assists in a game.

The bad news for the Penguins is that they won the puck possession battle, which doesn't fit the profile of these teams entering the postseason, but that still wasn't enough to get away with the win. Getting beat by the Rangers' third line is all the more troubling because the Penguins' depth and goaltending are areas in which they would expect to have a deficit when compared to the Rangers and that's exactly how Game One played out.

KANE PUTS ON A SHOW

Blackhawks wingers Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell each scored a pair of goals and Chicago knocked off the Minnesota Wild, 5-2, in Game One.

Kane broke a 2-2 tie with 11:38 remaining in the third period, on a highlight-reel goal, then added another with 3:13 remaining to settle the matter before Bickell added an empty-netter.

Kane now has five goals and eight points in seven games this postseason, while Bickell has four goals and five points in seven games.

Blackhawks RW Marian Hossa had three points (1 G, 2 A), giving him more points already in this series than he managed in six first-round games against St. Louis. No matter, no one in this year's playoffs has more than Hossa's 118 career playoff points.

LW Patrick Sharp, who had one point in Round One, added two assists in Game One against Minnesota, while D Brent Seabrook contributed two more assists, giving him eight points (2 G, 6 A) in four games.

To their credit, the Wild didn't wilt after falling behind 2-0. They outshot the Blackhawks 17-3 in the second period, then scored twice in the first seven minutes of the third to even things up; not for long it turned out.

Wild D Jonas Brodin had the best possession numbers for Minnesota at 5-on-5, 73.7% of shot attempts, but it was a rough night for him, as he had six minutes in penalties and was in the box for Chicago's first two goals.

D Clayton Stoner also had an eventful game for the Wild, getting credited with a goal (knocked in by Johnny Oduya's skate) and delivering a game-high six hits, including one that knocked Blackhawks RW Andrew Shaw out of the game in the first period.

This game showed just how difficult the task at hand is for the Wild. They fought hard to come back, outshot the Blackhawks 32-21 (48-37 in 5-on-5 shot attempts), but they couldn't contain the Blackhawks' power play or prevent Kane from getting loose. On top of that, the Wild were fortunate enough to have a Blackhawks goal disallowed in the first period, so there is some work to be done if they are going to make a series out of this.

On the plus side, the Wild did show that they can take the play to the Blackhawks at times, so they will have to continue doing so because it's difficult to expect Ilya Bryzgalov to get the better of Corey Crawford in the goaltending matchup.

 

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.




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